Troop 868 in Action
(Friday~Sunday, February 8~10, 2013)

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February is a very busy month for Troop 868.  At the beginning of the month we sell candy bars, one of our major annual fundraisers.  At the end of the month we have Merit Badge University, a major undertaking for both our scouts and our troop parents.  Sandwiched between, we always try to work in a weekend cabin camping trip.  This year's destination was Keeneland Lodge at Camp McKee near Mt. Sterling, Kentucky.  Prior to its conversion into sleeping quarters, the lodge was the camp's dining hall.  The lodge still features a kitchen but the large commercial stoves and other equipment have been moved to the camp's new dining hall and replaced with consumer-sized stoves and refrigerators.  This is more than adequate for troop weekend camping.  The building is warm and comfortable.  It also features indoor plumbing.  Sleeping is on canvas cots and there are tables and chairs for dining or working on advancement.  The lodge has a large fireplace for anyone who thinks that it isn't scout camping without having a fire burning!

The Pioneer Mountain Trail circles the perimeter of the camp.  It covers about 7 miles for the complete loop but the first section of it can easily be re-hiked to some adirondack shelters along the trail then back to camp to add 3 miles and make the trail count as a 10-mile hike.  The PMT is a fairly easy trail and we hiked it on Saturday.  Most of the hikers opted to do the additional 3 miles.  Winter is definitely the best time to hike the PMT, because the trail is just about overrun with poison ivy in the summertime.  The soil at Camp McKee is evidently perfect for growing that particular weed that many folks find to be particularly irritating.

As we always do when we go to Camp McKee, we had a great weekend of winter camping.

Preston is followed by Brixton as the group hikes the Pioneer Mountain Trail on Saturday. Micah and Ronnie.
Alex. The group was single file as they hiked up this hillside.
At the top of the mountain are Preston, Scoutmaster, Meek, Micah, Nicholas, Kenneth, and Ronnie. Sitting just a few feet away having lunch on the summit are Toby, Andrew, Brixton, Alex, Noah, and Tyler.
Eric and Cameron. Tyler and Nicholas hiking up one of the few steep hills near the end of the hike.
With Keeneland Lodge in sight, Alex, Micah, Ronnie, and Preston walk the last 100 yards of the hike. Preston, Matthew, and Ronnie pose with Smokey the Bear on the porch of Keeneland Lodge.
Alex shows the contents of his personal first aid kit to Assistant Scoutmaster Martin Moore. Later, Mr. Moore shows Kenneth how to weave a survival bracelet from parachute cord.
The boys were in charge of preparing the evening meal.  Preston and Tyler mixed the "bug" juice as Micah cooked meat in a skillet at the stove. Toby, Brixton, and Nicholas survey the situation.
Brixton and Tyler confer about the best way to cook spaghetti. For Sunday morning, Mr. Moore fabricated a "super size" egg & cheese bisquit.
The troop gathered for Sunday morning worship.  Chaplain Aide Noah prepared to begin the service with prayer. Assistant Scoutmaster Jeff Hagerman preached the sermon.
Ronnie, Eric (in the background), Kenneth, and Matthew worked on preparing Sunday lunch. The group had ice cream with Saturday night's dinner.  As we prepared to leave camp on Sunday and were cleaning our stuff out of the refrigerator, Mr. Moore couldn't bear to see any leftovers go to waste.